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STRIKEWATCH: Phillip Jackson's 'Black Star Project' trashes CTU right on schedule prior to Chicago schools strike... Questions for the latest Astroturf reformer on his own work for Richard M. Daley and Paul Vallas (among others)

As the first strike of Chicago school workers looms, every Astroturf and paid-protester group in the city (and many from out of town) will be weighing in against the teachers and following the lead of the Republican Party in trashing public schools and teacher unions. One of the most unusual of those groups is Chicago's "Black Star Project," which is headed by Phillip Jackson. During the 1990s, Jackson was one of the most prominent faces of corporate "school reform." Under Paul Vallas, he served as "Chief of Staff" during the years following the passage of the Amendatory Act. After leaving CPS, Jackson went over to head the Chicago Housing Authority during the years that "housing reform" was displacing thousands of poor people to make way for the massive gentrification of the areas adjacent to Lake Michigan. Along with "welfare reform," the three corporate "reforms" of the 1990s and since were a major attack on poor people, working people, and unions.

On August 27, 2012, Jackson's Black Star Project took another cheap shot at the Chicago Teachers Union by trashing the public schools. Note that Jackson also blames the police (not the gangs) for violence in the city's gang-ridden communities, just as he blames public schools and teacher for the bigger problems he so carefully worked to create during his years under Mayor Richard M. Daley's various reforms.

"The police can't protect us! The schools can't educate us! The jobs won't hire us! We are on our own! We must take control of our children and the education they receive!" are Jackson's latest words.

But don't take anyone's word for it. Below is the Black Star Bulletin that was circulated:

With Murders Up 28% in 2012 and 19 People Shot in 9 Hours Last Week, If Black Students Are Lucky Enough to Survive the Violent Streets of Chicago, They Probably Won't Survive the Schools!

Tens of Thousands of Chicago Black Students Attend Some of the

Worst-Performing Schools in America

Chicago has become ground zero for the destruction of the minds, hearts, spirits and bodies of African America students in American schools.

More Black children are suspended, expelled and arrested in Chicago schools than in any other city in America.

More Black students died by gunfire in Chicago than in any other American city and maybe any city in the world, including cities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And now, see some of the worst-performing high schools in America that the majority of Black students in Chicago attend, which are managed by the Chicago Public Schools.

If you are a young Black student in Chicago and you are lucky enough to survive the violent streets of Chicago, you probably won't survive the schools!

Many Chicagoans don't know this information. Others are ashamed of the destruction taking place in Chicago's schools. Most Chicagoans, including hundreds of thousands of Black people, know about this educational genocide but either don't care enough about it or don't know what to do to stop it.

Either way, inaction is unacceptable while the hopes, dreams and futures of Black children in America are being slaughtered in American schools.

If Black parents and Black communities across America are willing to allow our children to be destroyed in American schools, then we deserve what we get.

Black parents and Black communities are ultimately responsible for the education of Black children. Not teachers! Not schools! Not elected officials! We are responsible! If our children are being destroyed in American schools, it is only because we allow it.

Please see below the bottom 52 high schools in Chicago with less than 15% of their students meeting or exceeding Illinois state academic standards. Please find below the name of the high school, the percentage of students who meet or exceed state standards, the collective ACT score, the high school ranking in Illinois and the percentage of African American students at the school. Most Chicago high schools have between 600 and 1200 students enrolled.

The police can't protect us! The schools can't educate us! The jobs won't hire us! We are on our own! We must take control of our children and the education they receive!

Educate or Die!!!

Phillip Jackson

The Black Star Project



Comments:

August 28, 2012 at 11:44 AM

By: Eric Reyes

Black Star Project not CTU's enemy

Nowhere on here does Jackson criticize CTU. The only time he mentions teachers is to say that it's not solely their responsibility to educate black youth, and he's right. His critique is more about the schools, and let's face it, many of the schools that are overwhelmingly populated by black youth are in bad shape.

You're being reactionist. Just because he worked for Daley and Vallas doesn't mean he can't change. Most people don't leave the machine and then critique it. They don't go on to start non-profits whose mission states:

"Schools cannot educate children without the support of parents, families and communities. Good teachers and administrators are invaluable to the educational process, but they are not miracle workers."

You're missing his message because you want to attach it to the attack on teachers, when in reality he's probably on your side.

What Jackson is guilty of is legitimizing the standards/accountability regime by using their test data, which has been found to contain bias against low-income black and latino youth.

August 29, 2012 at 2:22 AM

By: Phillip Jackson

Educate or Die!!!

I commend President Karen Lewis for her great leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union. I support good teachers in the union and outside of the union. It is my hope that the CTU will lead in the effort to properly and successfully educate Black students, with the support of their parents and communities. \r\rNo one, including Substance (to which I am a subscriber) to the Chicago Teachers Union, to the Chicago Board of Education or the U.S. Department of Education can tell me when and what to say or not say about educating Black children.

Mr. Schmidt conveniently ignores the fact that charter schools, turn-around schools and public schools were all ranked with statistical data. I dislike using this kind of "testing" information for evaluating the success of Black students, but for right now, it is the best evaluative tool that I can get.

Please notice that Mr. Schmidt did not say that any of my words or statistics were incorrect or even exaggerated. He just says that he does not like me complaining about Black children being destroyed in their schools at this time. He complains about me trashing the public schools.

When one high school with 1,300 students has only 3% of its students that meet or exceed state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed!

When 34 high schools in a district have students that performed in single digits for meeting or exceeding state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed!

When 52 high schools in a district with tens of thousands of Black students attending those schools, have less than 15% of their students who meet or exceed state standards at each of the 52 schools, then the school system needs to be trashed!

When only 13 of 104 high schools in a district have at least 50% of their students that meet or exceed state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed!!!

Mr. Schmidt wants to protect a district that is destroying Black children. Mr. Schmidt, your time has come and gone, gone, and gone! You can no longer, single-handedly, stop Black children from learning. I don\'t think that Mr. Schmidt is smart enough to be a racist. He is just a bumbling old man who has lost his way in the modern world of education.

Thank you for this opportunity to present my counter-view to the article written about me.

Sincerely, Phillip Jackson The Black Star Project "Join The Million Father March!"

August 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM

By: Phillip Jackson

Educate or Die!!!

I commend President Karen Lewis for her great leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union. I support good teachers in the union and outside of the union. It is my hope that the CTU will lead in the effort to properly and successfully educate Black students, with the support of their parents and communities. \r\rNo one, including Substance (to which I am a subscriber) to the Chicago Teachers Union, to the Chicago Board of Education or the U.S. Department of Education can tell me when and what to say or not say about educating Black children. \r\rMr. Schmidt conveniently ignores the fact that charter schools, turn-around schools and public schools were all ranked with statistical data. I dislike using this kind of \"testing\" information for evaluating the success of Black students, but for right now, it is the best evaluative tool that I can get. \r\rPlease notice that Mr. Schmidt did not say that any of my words or statistics were incorrect or even exaggerated. He just says that he does not like me complaining about Black children being destroyed in their schools at this time. He complains about me trashing the public schools.\r\rWhen one high school with 1300 students has only 3% of its students that meet or exceed state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed! \r\rWhen 34 high schools in a district have students that performed in single digits for meeting or exceeding state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed! \r\rWhen 52 high schools in a district with tens of thousands of Black students attending those schools, have less than 15% of their students who meet or exceed state standards at each of the 52 schools, then the school system needs to be trashed!\r\rWhen only 13 of 104 high schools in a district have at least 50% of their students that meet or exceed state standards, then the school system needs to be trashed!!! \r\rMr. Schmidt wants to protect a district that is destroying Black children. Mr. Schmidt, your time has come and gone, gone, and gone! You can no longer, single-handedly, stop Black children from learning. \r\rI don\'t think that Mr. Schmidt is smart enough to be a racist. He is just a bumbling old man who has lost his way in the modern world of education.\r\rThank you for this opportunity to present my counter-view to the article written about me. \r\rSincerely, \r\rPhillip Jackson \rThe Black Star Project\r\"Join The Million Father March!\"

August 29, 2012 at 4:43 PM

By: Rod Estvan

re: Mr. Jackson's comments

While there is no question that the educational situation of many black students attending traditional CPS schools is a mess, it is also not hard to see that it is also a mess at some charter schools. I taught at a CPS high school that reasonably could be considered guilty as charged when it comes to educationally destroying many black students. That high school was Calumet H.S. and it was closed and charter schools were opened in the building.

Those of us, both black and white, who taught at old Calumet could come up with many explanations as to why our high school became a mess. Full scale gang control was one, the creation of Simeon Career Academy High School and other options for stronger intake area students were another, poor principal leadership, and our own weak teaching was yet another.

Perspectives Charter Leadership Academy HS which current occupies part of old Calumet H.S. is currently replicating the academic mess that old Calumet was. Like many traditional CPS high schools this charter school is formally considered by CPS to be low performing. In 2012 Perspectives at Calument could get only 18% of its junior class to meet or exceed state composite standards on the PSAE. It should be noted that this was actually a massive improvement compared to last year.

If we go back into history and look at old Calument High School's actual test data we discover in 1999 at grade 10 on the then ISAT high school level test in reading 22% were meeting state goals, 2% in math, 12% in writing, at grade 11 on the IGAP 19% were meeting state goals in science and 48% in social science.

I find it very difficult to detect improvement with the closure of Calument and the creation of a charter school many years later.

I think both Mr. Jackson and George have wicked pens. But arguing about George being "a bumbling old man" when Mr. Jackson is 62 himself is maybe a little over the top. If Perspectives at Calumet is part of the "modern world of education" then the future is not so bright that we all have to wear sun glasses. I don't disagree with trashing CPS's outcomes for many of its students, but I am an equal opportunity trasher - I trash charters too when they deserve it.

Rod Estvan

August 29, 2012 at 11:54 PM

By: Phillip Jackson

I apologize to Mr. Schmidt

Mr. Estvan, \r\rI am 62 years \"young\" and ready for 62 years more!. You are right. My comments about Mr. Schmidt were over the top. I apologize. I should stick to the issue of educating Black children. But for an old dog, I do have some \"bite\"! \r\rPhillip

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